The Out To Lunch festival is one of the highlights of a typically bleak January in Belfast, and today’s lunchtime session is no exception. The musicians may be relatively new to the music scene in (Northern) Ireland in their present forms, but their talent is clear to see, and they presented their large audience with a chilled-out, high quality Sunday afternoon.
First up on the Black Box’s unadorned stage is Naomi Hamilton, a.k.a. Jealous of the Birds. Quietly confident, just her and a guitar, she sings songs of delicacy and rhythm. Rumours are that she’s recording, and that we can expect some new music from her this year. Singing songs from her debut EP, Capricorn, including “St. Anne’s” , she closed out her short set with two great covers: Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” and Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain” . One to watch in 2016.
The Prima String Quartet changed the pace of things only slightly, presenting a beautifully curated selection of music from the movies, and ending with Bowie’s “Heroes”, in homage to the great man. The four blondes gave us arrangements of pieces from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Paul Schrader’s Mishima, all perfectly executed, and all accompanied by stunning visuals from the films.
Finally on stage are Irish duo Saint Sister, who play an unusual mix of folk and electronica: harp, drum pad and synth. Their music is haunting and at times macabre, evoking nature and wild Irish moors. They sing of mad faeries that keep you awake at night, failed love, loneliness and picture imperfect families. Their harmonies are on point, their echoes delightful and Morgan McIntyre occasionally pulls out a deep bass note that is very Laura-Marling-esque. They recently released an EP, Madrid, which they recorded in Kerry, and they close their set with the title track, which has seen airplay on BBC Radio 1, and the final track, “Versions of Hate” . A quality Sunday afternoon of stringed goodness. Photos and words by Paul Woods.